From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over a plot by some people to stop the swearing-in of Rt Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as the next senator of the north senatorial zone of the state.
Jarigbe, representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency, and Dr Steven Odey have been engaged in a legal tango for over ten months over who is the authentic candidate of PDP.
But in a historic judgment on Friday, July 30, the Court of Appeal Panel sitting in Calabar sacked Sen Steven Odey and upheld the election of Rt Hon Jarigbe A Jarigbe, as Senator-elect of Cross River North Senatorial District.
The three-man tribunal headed by Hon Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu dismissed an earlier ruling by the Tribunal which declared Senator Odey winner. The court ruled that the election petition tribunal erred by making a resolution in an area it had no jurisdiction.
The judge ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Jarigbe and that of Odey withdrawn. And the judgment of the election tribunal is hereby set aside. The judge maintained that it is an affront for the tribunal to jettison the decision of the Supreme Court on the authentic candidate of the PDP.
And barely a week after the judgment, rumours are making the rounds that some groups and interested parties are allegedly shopping for an injunction from another Appeal Court to forestall the swearing-in of Jarigbe once the National Assembly resumes sitting.
The interested parties are said to be mounting pressures on the judiciary to review the unanimous judgment of the Court of Appeal declaring Rt Hon Jarigbe as the duly elected senator.
Worried by this development, the Publicity Secretary of the state PDP Caretaker Committee, Hon Rita Ayim, called on the judiciary to be on their guard and ensure that the third arm of government is not turned into a pun in the hands of some selfish politicians out to diminish the democratic institutions at all cost.
‘We are concerned that after the review of the Judgement by the Court of Appeal, some parties to the Suit have requested for a further review, However, we firmly believe that Justice will still prevail in favour of the PDP Senator-Elect RT Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe,’ she said.
‘We thank the Judiciary for being upright, diligent and standing on the Law, Justice and the truth in reaching their decisions.”
Congratulating Jarigbe on his well-deserved victory at the Court of Appeal, the Publicity Secretary enjoined him to continue to engage in robust representation that will continue to deliver dividends of democracy to the people as the party leadership and stakeholders at all levels are behind him.